Osinbajo has constitutional roles, no controversy – Presidency
The Presidency on Tuesday made detailed explanations on the constitutional roles of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, disputing an earlier report of this online publication on the reporting lines or rather modalities of communications in the official relations between President Muhammadu Buhari and new ministers who the President sworn into office last week. The report had focused on the President’s directives on liaison procedures through the Chief of Staff and the role of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in providing administration for the coordination of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which was inaugurated by the President. The explanations of the Presidency through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity on the controversies that trailed the issues in the public were also captured in the report. There were, however, questions over the powers of the Vice President in view of the new arrangements.
The Presidency, however, in a rejoinder through a letter to the Editor signed by Arukaino Umukoro, Special Assistant to the President on Communications, Office of the Vice President, debunked that the report which indicated that the directives of the President stripped the executive powers of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. The SA Communications also refuted a section of the report relating to ‘unusual confusion… in the Presidency’; he maintained that the Vice President has major roles vested by the Nigerian constitution and that he has continued to function in those roles, serving the country as deputy to President Buhari, insisting that there is no controversy over the position of the Vice President in the Buhari administration.
The SA to the President declared inter alia, “As Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Osinbajo has major roles vested by the Nigerian constitution, and he continues to function in those roles, and serve the country as deputy to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“There is no controversy over the Vice President’s position in the Buhari administration. That the President directed that Ministers’ meeting requests be channeled through his Chief of Staff, or that communication regarding FEC memos should be sent through the SGF, does not in any way negate the constitutional roles and the place of the Vice President, nor strip him of any roles or power.”
Thereafter, he highlighted the various responsibilities of the Vice President either prescribed by the constitution or delegated by the President.
“The Vice President continues to oversee the Economic Management Team (EMT) on the direction of the President, and play a critical role under the Buhari Administration.
“Constitutionally, the VP also chairs the National Economic Council (NEC), which includes all the 36 state governors and the Governor of the Central Bank. NEC met only last week, with Prof. Osinbajo taking charge and presiding.
“Also, constitutionally, the Vice President is the Deputy Chairman of the National Security Council, while the President asked him to chair the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
“Besides, the Office of the Vice President also coordinates the Buhari Administration’s National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP), among other responsibilities,” the SA to the President on Communications highlighted.
He remarked that even the President acknowledged the VP in his speech, stating: “Today, I am pleased to inaugurate 43 new Ministers who will work with me and the Vice President in our service to the people of Nigeria.”
The concerns and clarifications from the Presidency on our report last week, “Re: Disquiet in Presidency as Buhari strips Osinbajo executive power” is received in good faith. Despite the tone of the letter, the response shows the present Party Government is being deepened in the basic values of enduring and sustainable democracy relating to debates, agreements and disagreements on public issues, thus, improving state/citizens relations in the polity. The Presidency, particularly, the Office of the Vice President, has shown that the current Party Government is already taking the country’s democracy to the next level of development which aligns Nigeria with the aphorism that “with more democracy, the ills of democracy will be cured;” invariably, with more open communications, the ills of governance will be cured; this is also extended to other sectors, no one can claim perfection.
Apparently, criticism strengthens governance, it doesn’t weaken it. This is where the media play critical roles in nation building and the socio-economic growth and development of any country. National Daily has no intention to weaken any government in the country. Though, some of our political reports are analytical and most time explore basic scientific tools adapted from the social science scholarship, our publication does not wish to undermine the sovereignty of our Governments or mandate of our leaders. We are here to provide support to our governments and leaders for better performance, or organization of government, and we assure the Presidency of our support, as well as commitment to a better Nigeria; and improved standard of living of Nigerians. National Daily is 100% non-partisan.
All issues are, however, noted.